Weekly Comments Archive
Archived Issue
Sunday, January 9, 2022
ISSUE #1094
Questions about January 6. Farming Without Plowing

This week we have an “elephant in the room” that cannot be ignored. Actually, it’s more like “donkeys in the House.” The “elephants” were there last year, storming the Capitol on January 6.

Although we won’t all agree on this first anniversary of January 6, I trust we will treat each other with mutual respect. Do you know anyone, personally, who doesn’t agree that the incursion of the Capitol Building was an embarrassment for the country? Probably not. At least 99% wish it had never happened.

Perhaps half the people you know would say last January 6 was a deadly Insurrection by hundreds of well-armed radical domestic terrorists directed by President Trump, comparable to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the Islamic attacks on 9-11.

The other half likely claim it was mainly a peaceful protest by people frustrated at how President Trump and his family were treated for four years. And a few dozen QAnon and Proud Boys radicals organized a brutal attack on the Capitol to coincide with the Trump rally.

There are several questions that need explanations during the House committee hearing. Explain why, of the 700 arrested, not one has been charged with insurrection. Explain why the attackers were armed with flag poles, bear spray and bike racks instead of rifles and machine guns. Explain how no Police, Senators and Congressmen were shot. Explain how Trump could ever believe he could force VP Pence and Congress to nullify the election results. After the FBI intercepted information about the impending Insurrection, why wasn’t secure fencing installed and a thousand extra armed guards brought in? Was this really an attack on democracy?

You probably have other questions. Do you think we’ll get answers?

This past week I attended the annual National No-Till Conference in Louisville. This was the 30th year of this conference that educates farmers across the country on a farming practice that started 60 years ago. You may be unfamiliar with this “no tillage” method of growing crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton. “No tillage” means no plowing or any other tillage operation before planting a crop. Weeds are usually killed with a few ounces of herbicide per acre. No-till farmers often plant a cover crop after the main crop is harvested. This protects the soil from erosion over the winter, improves the health of the soil, and means the soil can absorb and hold more rainwater which reduces flooding.

Did you know this farming system also takes carbon out of the air and stores it in the ground? Would you believe, if ALL cropland around the world were farmed with these no-till, conservation agriculture methods, so much carbon dioxide would be sequestered in soil that global warming would be eliminated? Yes, that’s a huge challenge. But it’s no more of a challenge than trying to live without fossil fuels.

Since I attended the no-till conference, here is a short piece from one of my typical presentations, based on Will Rogers’ comments on his weekly radio broadcast April 14, 1935. “You know, we’re always talking about pioneers and what great folks the old pioneers were. Well, I think the pioneer wasn’t a thing in the world but a guy that wanted something for nothing. He wanted to cut a tree down that didn’t cost him anything, but he never did plant one. He wanted to plow up the land that should have been left to grass. We’re just now learning that we can rob from nature the same way as we can rob from an individual. All he had was an ax, and a plow, and a gun, and he just went out and lived off nature. Well, he thought it was nature he was living off of, but really, what he was living off of was future generations.”

Historic quote by Will Rogers: (during the Dust Bowl)

          “Flew through these dust storms with the pilot flying entirely by instruments… It’s a terrible thing, and it’s going to bring up some queer cases in law. If Colorado blows over and lights on top of Kansas, it looks kinder like Kansas ought to pay for the extra top soil, but Kansas can sue ’em for covering up their crops…In the Middle West now you got to put a brand on your soil, then in the Spring go on a roundup looking for it.” DT #2697, March 28, 1935

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